EGU24-4122, updated on 08 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Investigating Interactions between Subduction Initiation and Plate Reorganizations From A Global Perspective

Xin Zhou1, Nicolas Coltice2, and Paul Tackley1
Xin Zhou et al.
  • 1Institute of Geophysics, ETH Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland (
  • 2Géoazur, Université Côte d'Azur, Nice, France

Subduction initiation (SI) creates new subduction zones and provides driving forces for plate tectonics, being a key process of theplate tectonic regime on Earth. Although SI has been extensively studied in 2D regional numerical models, obtaining a global perspective on SI remains elusive. Geological observations and plate reconstructions both suggest that SI is coeval with the global or local plate reorganizations. The tectonic plate reorganizations are marked by rapid changes of plate motions occurring over a few million years and are recurrent throughout Earth’s history.  One of the most well-known plate reorganization events occurred at approximately 53-47 Ma ago, characterized by the bending of Hawaii-Emperor Seamount Chain. Simultaneously, several SI events occurred in the Pacific Plate, such as Izu-Bonin-Mariana (~52 Ma) and Tonga-Kermadec (~50 Ma). The relationship between SI and plate reorganizations, as well as their collective impacts on continental evolution, is poorly understood. It is also unclear whether these processes are dominated  by a “top-down” or “bottom-up” mechanism. This study is committed to exploring the interaction between SI and plate reorganizations using 3D global mantle convection models. We reproduce SI coeval with plate reorganizations in these numerical models. We analyze the changes of stress distribution in the lithosphere during the plate reorganizations and their effects on SI. A variety of different interplays between SI and tectonic plates reorganizations have been identified based on their chronology and driving mechanisms. We also investigate their influences on the supercontinental breakup and assembly. Two major plate reorganization events, occurring at 100 Ma and 50 Ma ago respectively, are used to compare with the numerical modeling results. The effects of key parameters, such as lithosphere thickness and strength, will be examined. Plate reconstruction models will also be included to study the interaction between SI and plate reorganizations in the future.

How to cite: Zhou, X., Coltice, N., and Tackley, P.: Investigating Interactions between Subduction Initiation and Plate Reorganizations From A Global Perspective, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-4122,, 2024.